Room-Block Perks for Conference Guests Need More Promotion

Editor’s Note: It turns out loyalty status and the power of the corporate card are a couple of reasons conference attendees don’t book inside a hotel block. Event organizers should do a better job informing attendees of the perks that come from booking with the group — Andrew Sheivachman

Encouraging conference attendees to book inside the group’s room block helps meet financial demands on both sides of the equation. Half of U.S. conference goers, however, will book however they like.

New research from Kalibri Labs, Prism Advisory Group, PCMA Foundation, Hilton, and NYC & Company shows that just under half of conference guests regularly book a room from an event’s hotel block. Those who don’t have a variety of reasons for booking elsewhere.

With group business for U.S. hotels slated to decline slightly over the next two years, event organizers would do well to bolster marketing promotion of block perks and reduced rates for conference attendees.


U.S. Convention Attendees Paid Lodging

Source: Room Block of the Future Report

The Room Block of The Future report found that those who don’t book inside a room block are generally less informed about the savings and perks of doing so, while also skewing younger. The report polled 750 U.S. business travelers on their behavior when traveling to a business convention, finding that 45 percent use a conference’s website to help plan their trip, while 24 percent use Google searches and 27 percent get recommendations on where to stay from colleagues and friends.

Overall, about half of conference attendees booked in the appropriate room block through an event organizer’s preferred booking tool, while 25 percent booked in the block but direct with the hotel or through an intermediary. The remaining 25 percent stayed at a hotel outside the block or used services like Airbnb for their lodging.

“As we released some early findings [to meeting planners], I don’t think they were that surprised by that 50 percent booking outside the block,” said Meredith Rollins, executive director of the PCMA Foundation. “What was interesting to them was the reasons why, like the importance of loyalty programs and other reasons like the perception that by booking in the block you are paying more.”
Diving deeper into traveler behavior, those who didn’t book inside the room block tended to use booking channels like typical consumers.

Two-thirds of those who booked outside the block, though, ended up paying more for their lodging than they would have if they booked through the event-approved booking service. These travelers believed booking in the room block would be more expensive, however, and that they wouldn’t be able to earn loyalty points if they booked in the block.


“Since a lot of these people are traveling and somebody else is paying, they felt that price perhaps wasn’t as big a driver as some of the other things,” said Mark Lomanno, senior advisor at Kalibri Labs. “Two-thirds who booked outside the block actually paid more.”

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Is Airbnb Hotelier’s Friend or Foe?



After the recent acquisition of HotelTonight, If there were any doubt as to Airbnb's true intentions of entering the OTA space and start aggressively competing with online travel agency giants such as Booking Holdings and Expedia, they need to be laid to rest immediately. see more

This viewpoint was created by
Max Starkov, Adjunct Professor NYU Tisch Center for Hospitality, Founder & Director at HEBS Digital

Airbnb over time has lost its host centric edge as it moves into a profit centric mode. Trying to argue that Airbnb is nothing else than another OTA in the landscape should by now be a mute point - acquisition of Hoteltonight, hiking up commission rates “to either pass on to guests or suck it up like you would with OTA’s”, possible investment in OYO, etc.
— Fabian Bartnick, Vice President, Asia Pacific & International Business at LodgIQ
Airbnb broke the ‘boundary’ between the accommodation and the hotel industries by focusing travellers on what they need is a place to sleep, not a hotel room. Airbnb, as a relatively new supplier of beds, works harder to better understand travellers and, as a consequence, travellers are willing to tolerate the inconvenience of waiting to be approved, and dragging their luggage to find their Airbnb. How many hotel brands have this power?
— Meng-Mei (Maggie) Chen, Assistant Professor at Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne
From the time they announced they were pursuing boutique hotel inventory in March 2018, Airbnb’s intentions became obvious. Just as Expedia and have to diversify into short term rental, Airbnb has to add hotels. Growth rates are critical if they want to IPO and their penetration in vacation rental cannot maintain the meteoric rise with head-on competition from the OTAs. Pushback from tax and safety regulations in major markets has been another persistent headwind.
— Cindy Estis Green, Co-founder and CEO, Kalibri Labs

Airbnb to Invest in OYO Hotels and Homes

INTERNATIONAL REPORT—Airbnb will invest in Indian hotel start-up OYO Hotels and Homes, the home-sharing company confirmed to Hotel Business.

“Emerging markets like India and China are some of Airbnb’s fastest-growing, with our growth increasingly powered by tourism to and from these markets,” said Greg Greeley, president of homes with Airbnb, in a statement to Hotel Business. “In many of these markets, OYO is empowering local hospitality entrepreneurs to provide more options to more travelers. We share a dedication to offering people more choices when traveling, and we’re excited to partner with OYO as we work to make Airbnb for everyone.”

Maninder Gulati, global chief strategy officer at Oyo Hotels & Homes, added, “Airbnb’s strong global footprints and access to local communities will open up new opportunities for OYO Hotels & Homes to strengthen and grow, while staying true to our core value proposition. We’re excited by the possibilities and committed to bringing benefits to the millions of travelers who can now rely on Airbnb and OYO Hotels & Homes to find a home away from home.”

According to various media reports citing sources familiar with the deal, Airbnb will invest between $150 million and $200 million in OYO, which was launched in 2013 by Ritesh Agarwal. The company claims to be India’s largest hospitality company, with a network that currently spans more than 230 Indian cities including all major metros, regional commercial hubs, leisure destinations and key pilgrimage towns. It also has an international presence with hotels in Malaysia and Nepal. OYO is backed by global investors, including the SoftBank Group, Lightspeed India, Sequoia Capita, Greenoaks Capital, Hero Enterprise and China Lodging Group.

The investment comes on the heels of Airbnb’s announced purchase of HotelTonight, which the industry viewed as unsurprising move for the company, as it moves to increase its presence into the traditional hotel space.

Cindy Estis Green, CEO/co-founder of Kalibri Labs, was not surprised by this move by Airbnb.

Given their clear intention to move into the hotel space and the fact that their average rates are more aligned with the economy and midscale hotel sectors, this seemed like a logical step.
I expect we will see more of Airbnb’s active approach to the hotel community to build out their inventory as they compete more directly with and Expedia.
— Cindy Estis Green, CEO & Co-Founder, Kalibri Labs

Owners must be informed on customer acquisition costs

By  Kurt Furlong

Revenue managers should take a closer look at metrics such as Net RevPAR to get a better handle on bottom-line performance.

As we come off the heels of the 2019 ALIS conference, the annual event which invariably sets the tone of hotel investment and operations for the year ahead, hotel owners are likely sharpening pencils even more than usual, looking at all possibilities for strengthening revenue generation and reducing costs. As an owner myself, and someone who has been charged over the years with honing revenue management skills on behalf of other operators too, my tendency is to continually analyze and assess the most profitable revenue—to identify the instances when optimized dollars flow through to the bottom line.

Customer acquisition costs for lodging continue to rise. And as revenue strategists, we need to take into account the various channels and sources of room revenue: all areas where commissions apply; the investment in brand or other loyalty programs; costs of the growing number of distribution channels; and all sales and marketing expenses, including the ever-changing and often enigmatic digital marketing platforms. Whether the booking costs are transaction-specific as in commissionable OTAs or GDS, or there are cross-channel costs via social media, franchise fees and even labor for sales and marketing, the total costs for acquiring our guests are increasing over time.

Revenue booked directly through brand channels such as, the brand app or brand reservations call centers provides a hotel with a 10% to 25% rate premium as compared to revenues booked through OTAs or the GDS. The ADR premium helps to build our bottom line.

As mentioned in Kalibri Labs’ 2018 “Book Direct Campaigns 2.0: The Costs and Benefits of Loyalty” report, the ADR for member rate/loyalty bookings “reflects a solid premium compared to OTA bookings” (after acquisition costs are removed), and grew to 9% in 2018, up from 8.6% in 2016. According to the same study, loyalty member campaigns in the last few years have strengthened or stabilized the increase of reservations via While it clarifies that “both online channels are growing, generates 50% more bookings on average to U.S. hotels than the OTA channels.”

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Who’s Really Winning the Direct Booking Wars Between Hotels and Online Travel Agencies?

Editor’s Note: Skift Senior Hospitality Editor Deanna Ting presented a version of this story at the Bernstein Hotels Versus OTAs conference in New York on Thursday, February 28 to an audience of investors in the travel and hospitality industries.

So, who is winning the so-called direct booking wars? Is it the hotels? Is it the online travel agencies? Is it Google? Is it the consumer?

This is a question that so many people in the travel industry have attempted to answer and, thus far, we’ve seen some statistics that seem to suggest that the tide is changing a bit.

Back in November 2017, a little more than a year after many of the major U.S. hotel companies launched their respective direct booking pushes, a report from Kalibri Labs suggested that the hotels were, indeed, winning.

Compiling data from its database of more than 25,000 hotels in the U.S., including validated costs and daily transactions directly sourced from the hotels’ systems, Kalibri Labs found that there was indeed a shift in consumer behavior toward sites versus online travel agencies such as or Expedia. More consumers than ever before chose to book direct versus booking on a third-party site.

Not only did the direct booking campaigns encourage consumers to book direct, but the Kalibri study also found that these campaigns were more beneficial for hotel owners than previously assumed. The hotels’ direct-booking campaigns — even by offering discounted rates to consumers — were actually generating more revenue for hotel owners than the online travel agencies were.

Kalibri Labs found that the net average daily rate of discounted loyalty rates was higher than the net average daily rate of room rates on the online travel agencies. The median net revenue benefit ranged from $9,000 to $33,000 per hotel as well, taking into account all discounts and loyalty and commission costs.

More recently, a newer report from Kalibri also showed that those direct booking campaigns engendered loyalty, or repeat business from consumers.

“Some people were sure [consumers] just signed up [for the hotel loyalty programs] to get discounts and that those members may have dropped off,” Kalibri Labs CEO and co-founder Cindy Estis-Green told Skift last month. “We didn’t track data by numbers of personally identifying information because of security, but the loyalty numbers keep going up. Fifty percent and growing is now the average when it comes to contribution to occupancy from channels.”

There are a few things to note here, however: The same time period covered by this second study was also when hotels enacted stricter cancellation policies, which may have had some impact on guest bookings.

So while Kalbri’s data and other data sources generally point to a slight shift toward more direct hotel bookings, that’s not the whole story in its entirety.

Read the full article on Skift

HSMAI Washington DC Chapter Announces Board Chair and Appointments


HSMAI Washington DC Chapter, which serves hospitality professionals throughout the Washington metropolitan area, today announced the appointment of a new chair, chair-elect and two members to its advisory board.

Sheila Hession, executive director of sales at the MGM National Harbor resort in Oxon Hill, Maryland, will serve as advisory board chair joined by the chair-elect, Leticia Proctor, senior vice president of sales, marketing & revenue management for Donohoe Hospitality Services, Bethesda, Maryland, and two new board members, Vanessa Wilson, director of sales & marketing for the Hilton Washington DC National Mall, and Lajja Ashar, PS area manager for (USA) Inc., both in Washington.

“Sheila Hession, Leticia Proctor, Vanessa Wilson and Lajja Ashar are talented and accomplished leaders with extensive hospitality sales and operations experience,” said Ellen Wilson, managing director of the HSMAI Washington DC Chapter. “We are fortunate to have their insights and vision on our board.”

Hession, a 30-year hospitality industry veteran, joined HSMAI Washington DC Chapter’s advisory board in September 2017. Before joining MGM National Harbor, she was director of sales and marketing at the Willard InterContinental hotel in Washington, regional director of sales with Davidson Hotels & Resorts and director of sales and marketing for the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel and Washington Court Hotel on Capitol Hill, both in Washington. Prior to that, she served in leadership roles at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington, and Hyatt Hotels Corporation.

Proctor, who joined the advisory board in 2017, is responsible for the development and implementation of Donohoe Hospitality Services’ sales, marketing and revenue management efforts at the national, regional and property levels. During her career of more than 20 years, she served as senior vice president of sales, revenue management & digital strategies for PM Hotel Group, Washington; regional director of sales for Hersha Hospitality Management; area director of sales and marketing for Kimpton Hotels; and director of sales and marketing for Crestline Hotels and Resorts, Remington Hotels and Resorts and the former Holiday Inn Select Bethesda.

Wilson, a 20-year hospitality veteran, previously was director of sales & marketing for the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center in Virginia, the Hilton Washington DC North/Gaithersburg hotel in Maryland, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Washington DC and the Churchill Hotel Near Embassy Row in Washington.

Ashar, who has worked in sales and marketing for more than 14 years, is responsible for leading’s multiple account management teams that oversee the accommodations in Washington, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Delaware. Earlier in her career, she served InterContinental Hotels Group, was area revenue director and sales director for hotel management companies and worked in product marketing and merchandising for Johnson & Johnson and Kraft Foods.

Other HSMAI Washington DC Chapter board members include Iman Butler, director of group sales for the Washington Marriott Wardman Park; Linda Caruso, director of sales & marketing for the Hyatt Centric Arlington in Virginia; Jennifer Hill, vice president of client engagement for Kalibri Labs in Washington; Carol Motley, director of convention sales for Destination DC; Jennifer Phillips, area director of revenue management for Marriott International in Bethesda, Maryland; and Suzanne Shogren, regional director, ownership group services, for Cvent in Tysons Corner, Virginia.

About HSMAI Washington DC Chapter

HSMAI Washington DC Chapter is an affiliate of the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International, an individual membership organization based in McLean, Virginia, composed of more than 7,000 members worldwide, with 40 chapters in the Americas Region.

HSMAI is committed to growing business for hotels and their partners and is the industry's leading advocate for intelligent, sustainable hotel revenue growth. The association provides hotel professionals and their partners with tools, insights and expertise to fuel sales, inspire marketing and optimize revenue through programs including the Adrian Awards and Revenue Optimization Conference.

Read the full article on Hotel News Resources

HB ON THE SCENE: Industry Outlook on 2019 is More of the Same



LOS ANGELES—More than 3,000 delegates have gathered at this year’s Americas Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS) to find out the future of the industry. For now, industry experts are expecting more of the same in 2019, but they’re not so certain about 2020. Panelists during the general session covered several trending topics, including where the industry is heading, brand standards and advocacy.

Key takeaways from the morning’s stats session (panelists included Cindy Estis Green, CEO/co-founder of Kalibri Labs; Vail S. Ross, SVP of STR; R. Mark Woodworth, senior managing director of CBRE Hotels; and Mark Wynne Smith, global CEO of hotels at JLL):

  • Highly liquid markets include Boston, Miami, San Diego and San Francisco.

  • Cap rates held steady in H2 2018 but are expected to trend up in 2019.

  • In 2019, supply is expected to increase by 1.9%; demand is forecast to increase by 1.9%; occupancy is projected to remain flat; RevPAR is forecast to increase by 2.3%; and ADR is expected to increase by 2.3%.

  • Hotel debt markets are expected to remain strong throughout 2019, but the ultimate trajectory of the market will remain closely tied to what happens in Washington, DC.

  • There’s a 40% chance of a recession in 2020.

  • In 2020, supply is expected to increase by 1.9%; demand is forecast to increase by 1.7%; occupancy is projected to decrease by 0.2%; RevPAR is forecast to increase by 1.9%; and ADR is expected to increase by 2.2.

  • Increased robotics can help labor shortage issues in the industry.

Read the full article on Hotel Business

2019: The Year Hotels Get a Grip on Acquisition Costs

By Jason Q. Freed, Managing Editor at Duetto

Examining the challenges and opportunities facing hoteliers in 2019, it might be easy to say, "New year, same old story." In attempts to drive revenue and increase profitability, hoteliers—like they have for seemingly the past decade—continue to focus on less costly ways to acquire guests.

On one hand, OTAs continue to grow share, release new features to better connect with your guest and, in general, innovate faster than the large hotel brands. This is a problem because part of the allure of a hotel brand is the giant distribution system that comes with it, supposedly bringing guests at a much lower cost. Therefore, upcoming negotiations between Marriott and Expedia are expected to be tense and the results could have a wide-ranging impact on industrywide commissions.

On the other hand, most independent hotels today better understand the relationship and the value that third-party distribution channels bring and are finding ways to only use them in need periods and to target specific markets. "Optimizing one's distribution mix is probably a lot more productive than fighting OTAs," says hospitality marketing consultant Martin Soler.

When it's all said and done, we expect hoteliers in 2019 to have better insights into the cost of each of their distribution channels and the relevant information to make educated decisions on how to acquire guests.

OTAs Facing New Competition

The days of fearing that Expedia and will dominate distribution and bankrupt your business are over. After gobbling up most of the other third-party distribution sites and building what appeared to be a duopoly, Expedia and Booking suddenly find themselves facing new competition in Google, Airbnb and eventually Amazon. For hoteliers, this new competition is good and drives down costs.

For example, according to a Skift report, in 2008 Expedia and Booking Holdings were capturing $19 of travel sales for every $1 they spent in marketing. Today, each dollar spent on marketing earns them closer to $16 in bookings, a 15% decline in efficiency.

While Expedia enters 2019 calling itself, "The World's Travel Platform," Skift is quick to point out that in 2018 Expedia had only 12% of overall travel market share in the U.S. and Canada, its biggest market. Don't forget about global sites like, Ctrip, TripAdvisor, and—perhaps most importantly—Google.

Book Direct Campaigns Working

Earlier this year, Soler opined that the "Direct vs OTA" debate had lost a lot of steam. Hotels weren't ignoring their efforts to drive business direct, he said, but better understood the complexity of competing with OTAs.

Then out came a report by Kalibri Labs saying "Book Direct" campaigns launched by many of the big brands last year have in fact been successful in "either stabilizing or strengthening the growth rate of bookings via proprietary hotel company websites."

Kalibri has been examining hotels' efforts to drive direct business through their loyalty programs, which often offer a 10% discount or similar to entice travelers to join their loyalty programs and book directly with the brand or the hotel. "Bookings growth for online travel agencies during this period either held steady or decelerated, signaling a shift for the hotel industry," Kalibri said.

Undoubtedly the results of this report, coupled with the internal findings from brands who initiated Book Direct campaigns, will provide a momentum boost to hotels looking to take back share through personalization and loyalty membership bookings.

Read the full article on Hospitality Net

Analysts expect 2019 to be a healthy year for hotels

Executives from STR, CBRE Hotels, Kalibri Labs and JLL shared their forecasts at ALIS and talked about rate, supply and other trends hoteliers should keep an eye on.

Industry analysts shared insight into U.S. hotel industry performance and what to watch in 2019. From left: Kalibri Labs’ Cindy Estis Green, STR’s Vail Ross, CBRE Hotels’ Mark Woodworth and JLL’s Mark Wynne Smith.

Industry analysts shared insight into U.S. hotel industry performance and what to watch in 2019. From left: Kalibri Labs’ Cindy Estis Green, STR’s Vail Ross, CBRE Hotels’ Mark Woodworth and JLL’s Mark Wynne Smith.

By  Stephanie Ricca

LOS ANGELES—Numbers lend credibility to conversations about where the hotel industry is in a cycle and whether the future looks like a peak or a valley.

At the Americas Lodging Investment Summit, executives from several data analysis companies put 2018 performance and activity into context, shared how the next few years are shaping up, and what hoteliers should be aware of when it comes to the data.

Vail Ross, SVP of global business development and marketing at STR, said 2018 “was a good year, not a great year.” (STR is the parent company of Hotel News Now.)

“We’ve had better years, but we’re still seeing some positive growth,” she said.

Compared with 2017, U.S. hotels ended 2018 with a 0.5% increase in occupancy to 66.2% and 2.4% growth in average daily rate to $129.83, leading to revenue per available room of $85.96, up 2.9%.

For 2019, STR and Tourism Economics downgraded their forecast slightly, projecting that flat occupancy and 2.3% ADR growth will lead to 2.3% RevPAR growth in 2019.

CBRE Hotels Senior Managing Director Mark Woodworth put 2019 hotel performance in “the blip category,” saying the industry won’t see a dip but more of a softer blip.

He pointed to strong consumer and government spending, which continue to drive GDP growth, as a solid underpinning of travel and hotel performance.

“Overall, the picture remains very healthy,” he said. “There’s still some decent growth in some of these markets.”

Kalibri Labs, which tracks guest-paid revenue, net revenue and revenue capture, sees “healthy growth” in the guest-paid revenue category in 2019, CEO and founder Cindy Estis Green said.

“Guests are paying, we expect, 4.4% more in the next year compared to 2018, and this is good and encouraging news,” she said.

However, net revenue growth is expected to slow in 2019, as hotels retain less of what guests pay. “We’re not able to flow-through more of that revenue,” she said.

Kalibri Labs forecasts RevPAR growth of approximately 1.9% in 2019, driven by ADR growth and flat occupancy, but Estis Green said she worries about headwinds from channel-related distribution costs.

Read the full article on Hotel News Now

How Did the Government Shutdown Impact the Hotel Market?

Experts at ALIS said that the government shutdown was “not insignificant,” estimating it produced a loss of hundreds of millions of dollars and impacted GDP growth.


The government shutdown had a significant impact on hotel activity—and it was only a partial shutdown. The recent event, which ended this week after 35 days, was among the topics that The Numbers – What to Expect in 2019 and Beyond discussed at ALIS this week. The panel included moderator Kristian Gathright , EVP and COO at Apple Hospitality REIT, and speakers Cindy Estis Green, CEO and co-founder of Kalibri LabsVail S. Ross, SVP at STRMark Woodworth, senior managing director at CBRE Hotels; and Mark Wynne Smith, global CEO of Hotels at JLL.

While the topic of the government shutdown came up early in the conversation as part of a discussion about political uncertainty and projected RevPar growth—which will likely slow down in 2019—a question about the impact of the shutdown came from the audience. Green said that the impact was “not insignificant.” She estimated that the government business is valued at approximately 4% of guest paid revenue or a total of $10 billion to $12 billion per year. That is $800 million to $1 billion per month in revenue. In Washington DC, where Green is based, she said that hotels experienced a 25% to 35% drop in activity, but the rest of the US likely saw closer to a 10% decline in activity as a result of the shutdown. “That is huge,” she said.

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Hotel Direct Booking Efforts Create Lasting Loyalty: New Report

Hilton BD Camapign - anna kendrick.png

In 2017, a report from Kalibri Labs suggested that the massive direct booking pushes launched a year earlier by the major hotel companies — Hilton, Marriott, InterContinental Hotels Group, and Hyatt among them —actually worked.

And today, more than two years later, a new report from Kalibri suggests that not only did the campaigns work, but those campaigns — many of which included discounted room rates — generated loyal customers and guests.

“Some people were sure [consumers] just signed up [for the hotel loyalty programs] to get discounts and that those members may have dropped off,” Kalibri Labs CEO and co-founder Cindy Estis-Green said. “We didn’t track data by numbers of personally identifying information because of security, but the loyalty numbers keep going up. Fifty percent and growing is now the average when it comes to contribution to occupancy from channels.” Kalibri evaluates and predicts hotel revenue performance.

Examining hotel stays that took place from January 2016 to August 2018, Kalibri’s research looked at a total of 19,000 hotels that had loyalty programs, ranging from economy to luxury properties throughout the U.S., and representing a total of 80 million different transactions.

“What the second study has borne out is that the new loyalty members have stayed loyal,” said Chad Crandell, managing director and CEO of CHMWarnick, a hotel-asset-management and owner-advisory-services company that represents more than 70 hotels. “The return on investment that was somewhat speculative [with regard to the book direct campaigns] has borne out to be very accurate. The direct booking programs were effective in growing the membership base and those members continue to be loyal to the programs they’ve enrolled in.”

The new report also noted that loyalty members comprise the largest customer base for branded hotels in the U.S., growing 30 to 40 percent year over year from 2015 to 2016 when the direct booking campaigns debuted. And even today, nearly half of the business in the U.S. branded hotels comes from loyalty members.

Further, Kalibri’s data also indicates that the net average daily rate for loyalty bookings is higher than the net average daily rate for bookings made via a third party, such as an online travel agency like Expedia or The average daily rate for loyalty member bookings, after acquisition costs are removed, reflects a premium in comparison to bookings made via an online travel agency. Net average daily rate for loyalty bookings grew to 9 percent in 2018, up from 8.6 percent in 2016.

“Ownership is looking for the cost of guest acquisition,” Crandell noted. “This helps the industry better understand that we should be looking at net average daily rate, or the next of cost to acquire that guest.”

Kalibri’s research also demonstrates the lifetime value of loyalty customers. A repeat guest who stays with a hotel three times after her initial visit, averages approximately $65 per loyalty member to a hotel, compared to having four different guests who have booked their stays via an online travel agency.

“The loyalty members are giving hotel owners a higher room and they spend more money in the hotel,” Crandell noted.

Read the full article on Skift

HM Exclusive: Kalibri Labs' study finds sustained growth in direct bookings

by Elliott Mest

Hotel companies continue to grapple with online travel agencies for guest bookings and a new study from Rockville, MD-based Kalibri Labs—shared exclusively with Hotel Management in advance of release—indicates their efforts have not been in vain.

The Kalibri Labs’ report, now in its second year and titled “Book Direct Campaigns 2.0: The Costs and Benefits of Loyalty in 2018,” found hotel companies’ initial campaigns to attract loyalty members and drive direct bookings over a period from January 2016 through August 2018 have either stabilized or strengthened the growth rate of bookings via proprietary hotel company websites—the so-called sites—primarily by growing loyalty programs. Meanwhile, bookings growth for online travel agencies during this period either held steady or decelerated, signaling a shift for the hotel industry.

Kalibri Labs' CEO and co-founder, Cindy Estis Green and VP of Revenue Strategy, Mark Mazzocco, authored the report. The first study, released in Oct. 2017, was commissioned to compare and contrast the hotel industry’s direct-booking pace before and after engagement campaigns were launched. This latest iteration examines whether the gains made from these campaigns can be sustained.

After two-and-a-half years of promoting direct bookings, roomnight demand through in the United States is on average 50 percent higher than OTA roomnight demand, said Estis Green. While the original study examined 52 million bookings, this time Kalibri Labs combed through 80 million bookings and found while the industry benefitted from a burst of initial direct business as a result of large-scale advertising campaigns, true long-term gains were realized once hotels began updating their mobile applications to offer more perks for booking direct.

According to the new study, bookings made via and those made directly with a hotel property account for 23 percent and 29 percent of all bookings, respectively, made between August 2017 and August 2018. Meanwhile, OTAs represent 15 percent of all bookings, trending closer to group bookings at 14 percent. Additionally, bookings made via voice channels stand at 8 percent, so all told the industry records roughly six in 10 room nights through direct channels.

“In the beginning, [brands] were all offering discounts on bookings, sometimes up to 10 percent, to entice people to sign up to be loyalty members,” said Estis Green. “In the last 2.5 years, almost all brands have substantially updated their apps to offer keyless entry, more features, mobile check-in and different services such as those. All these benefits only apply when booking through the brand’s app or as a loyalty member and those things were not in place in the beginning.”

Loyalty bookings made directly through a hotel’s website generate a return on investment that is nearly double that of the revenue earned via OTA channels. Source: Kalibri Labs

Loyalty bookings made directly through a hotel’s website generate a return on investment that is nearly double that of the revenue earned via OTA channels. Source: Kalibri Labs

Executive Insights: Cindy Estis Green CEO and Co-Founder of Kalibri Labs

Source: HP Hotels Fall Newsletter

In this interview, Cindy Estis Green, CEO & Co-founder of Kalibri Labs, discusses hospitality data collection and benchmarking and the emergence of a new discipline of revenue strategy

Cindy’s hospitality career includes serving with Hilton International and founding the data mining consultancy, Driving Revenue, which was later sold to Pegasus Solutions. She was also inducted into the prestigious HFTP Hospitality Technology Hall of Fame and named as one of Cornell University’s 90 Influential Hotelies.
Cindy says the Kalibri name is meant to evoke the hummingbird (colibrí in Spanish), which can fly backwards and forwards, representing a view of data both historical and predictive models for the future; the company name sounds like the word calibrate and contains the word libra, for balance and truth.

What distinguishes Kalibri Labs’ approach to the hospitality sector?

We formed Kalibri Labs about six years ago as a next generation benchmarking and Big Data platform that collects data from all hotels in the U.S. and we are expanding globally. We have cost information for about seven billion transactions in our database right now and we add about another 100 million transactions each month.
We want benchmarking and performance evaluation to reflect the quickly evolving digital market place and its impact on the economics of hotels. For example, instead of taking a legacy approach to RevPAR, we look at net RevPAR, a key component of which is the cost of customer acquisition.
This is a different focus from when I first entered the industry, where everything was focused on top line revenue. But, today, with online travel agents, search engines, the prominence of big tech companies and entities like Airbnb, it becomes important to manage both revenue as well as the cost of acquiring that revenue. Our tools help hotel operators do that.

What hospitality entities do you work with?
We work with those interested in looking at hotel performance, especially owners, operators and brands that want to move into the next generation of performance evaluation, as well as destination marketing organizations and the entire real estate ecosystem such as brokers, bankers, advisory services and developers. 
In particular, we have done a lot of work with real estate developers to inform their decisions around brand choice, transaction pricing and overall buy and sell decisions.

What is the next or further goal of your approach?
We continue to develop algorithms aimed at understanding the optimal business mix for any property. In doing so, in addition to tracking the cost of acquisition, as just discussed, the Kalibri Labs Optimal Business Mix algorithm looks at a wide range of factors to include meeting space availability, a hotel’s base of loyalty contribution and consumer reviews.
We also analyze comp sets by customer segments and by weekpart. In the traditional world, you might look at RevPAR and how you compare to nearby competitors. But traditional benchmarking may be misleading if you are narrowing your scope to a small number of hotels with which you have, say, a 50 percent to 70 percent overlap in business production. However, there may be many more additional hotels with which you overlap in just one or two segments, but those may be valuable segments for you.
We are trying to derive a more realistic benchmark for a hotel than just an arithmetic average of the performance of a handful of nearby hotels. The goal is to understand the full range of opportunities in any market and enable a hotel to benchmark itself against the best it can achieve knowing realistic market opportunity and competitive performance, given the constraints of customer feedback, brand contribution (using loyalty as a proxy) and physical plant (guest and meeting rooms).
How might this apply to real estate development?

Our approach also has significant implications for determining transaction values and the viability of new developments.

Let’s consider the example of an extended stay property. We would look at the volume of long term stay in a market in a variety of ways, including by length of stay and how many hotels are serving each segment of extended stay demand. Are traditional hotels absorbing that demand; or is there room for dedicated, purpose-built product to accommodate that market? We can answer questions like that in ways that weren’t possible before.

What is one big takeaway from what you have learned about net revenue?
Hotels are spending about 15 to 25 percent to acquire customers; second only to labor cost. Owners and operators all manage labor even though it is considered “a cost of doing business”; so why wouldn’t you want to take a similar approach with cost of acquisition? Hotel operators can be too accepting of commission cost as something that cannot be managed, but that is the big lesson from the data. It’s not a matter of negotiating better OTA or third party vendor deals, which is usually not in the control of a hotel, but rather managing the hotel’s channel mix, which largely is.
Cost of customer acquisition will be a huge variable in the next decade. As a strategy in controlling these costs, loyalty programs will be the retaining wall for the hotel brands that will really differentiate them and give them strength going forward in supporting hotels’ efforts to control cost of acquisition by reinforcing the direct channels. And at the hotel level, the operators need to gain expertise in managing each segment and each channel so they learn to leverage opportunities as profit contribution managers.

What’s next for Kalibri Labs?
We will continue to expand the use of our optimal business mix algorithms, which, among other things, will help entities forecast budgets more accurately.
Planning tools become critical for budgeting and forecasting and in a real estate scenario where you are considering an acquisition.  You can run different numbers and scenarios into our model to improve the underwriting accuracy.
We want to open the aperture on the lens so that those involved in the real estate community are more fully aware of the range of opportunities available to them; or they can set their targets in a broader way and gain accuracy due to an understanding of the composition of RevPAR in a market, not just guessing on the underlying strength of a market with broad brush top line numbers.

How would you sum up progress in this area?
We have built a revenue strategy platform, which supplements the  efforts around traditional revenue management. Going forward, this discipline of revenue strategy, which is much more holistic, has to enable hotel operators to take actions that go beyond pricing and inventory management.  These include group, corporate and travel agent sales, digital marketing, and other promotional activities such as loyalty, email or lead generation programs. In a nutshell, you could be optimal in pricing, but sub-optimal in performance because the team has not looked across all opportunities and set targets that point toward shared profit contribution goals using all revenue levers.
The approach of revenue strategy allows owners to make sure that the operating team is aligned with its asset valuation target by building operating targets that have a direct connection to flow-through on every revenue opportunity they pursue.

How Alibaba-Backed Shiji Is Expanding Its Tech Sales to Hotels Outside of China

Shiji, the hospitality tech giant of China, has been expanding its global push since February — when it announced a $486 million investment from e-commerce powerhouse Alibaba Group.

Shiji, which has 20 foreign subsidiaries, has in the past month acquired StayNTouch, a hotel tech services provider, and Concept Software Systems, a retail tech provider for golf, spa, and other activities. A few months ago, it bought out the remaining shareholders of SnapShot, an analytics dashboard.

Shiji recently disclosed its backing of Kalibri Labs, a data-based hotel revenue consultancy. It has been rumored to have invested in Leonardo, a company that helps hotels manage their visual assets, such as photos of rooms.

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In China, Shiji is responsible for at least 60 percent of the market share for enterprise software services among upscale and international hotels and luxury retailers. About 13,000 Chinese hotels use Shiji-networked systems, including many global brands.

Outside China, about 47,000 properties use products or services from Shiji Group. More than 100,000 hotels worldwide connect to Shiji’s inventory distribution system.


The company now looks overseas for growth, with the blessing of e-commerce giant Alibaba, which has a 13.07 percent stake.

By the end of this year, Shiji expects to have more than 500 employees outside of China — a headcount that has grown from a negligible number during the past four years.

Analysts following the public company estimate that Shiji will generate about $481 million in revenue for the year through December 30, 2018. That puts it second in hospitality tech sales leadership to Oracle Hospitality, which analysts estimate generated about $1.8 billion in revenue in 2017.

By dollar volume, they are the world’s largest hospitality tech companies.

Read the full article on Skift

Kalibri Offers Guide for Finding Optimal Business Mix

The success of any hotel depends on dozens of factors — some within your control and some outside it. But one thing is certain, hoteliers can maximize profitability by determining their Optimal Business Mix.

This is easier said than done. Business mix is a complex and intricate science with lots of variables. But a recent three-part report by Kalibri Labs seeks to decode those complexities by offering analyses alongside practical advice.

It’s kind of a how-to guide for finding a healthy balance of business at the lowest cost possible.

“The differences in cost by channel can range from 5% to 35% of guest paid revenue,” says Cindy Estis Green, CEO and Co-Founder of Kalibri Labs. “That variation needs management attention to ensure the mix of business, down to mix of accounts pursued, is the optimal one.

“We wanted to introduce analytics that would inspire hoteliers to think about their business in a way they might not have thought about it in the analog market, with a traditional view of performance,” she adds. “These analyses might trigger different actions.”

Part III of “Demystifying the Digital Marketplace” highlights all the different channels through which hotels receive business and the differing net revenue values that each channel generates.

It offers several different analyses hoteliers can apply to their own situations, including Flow-Through Analysis, Lifetime Value Analysis and Ancillary Spend Analysis.

“There are a few new ways to view the business due to the dominance of digital channels in the marketplace that are becoming mission critical,” says Green. “Threaded throughout is a sharper focus on profit contribution.”

Flow-Through Analysis dissects the amount of contribution to profit down to a gross operating profit level on a per-roomnight basis for the different channels used by guests. For example, the per-roomnight GOP from direct channels, voice and is significantly higher than that from third parties, she said.

Lifetime Value Analysis examines the value of recurring guests. Typically, loyalty members booking direct contribute a higher profit contribution than the cost of finding new non-recurring guests who book through third parties.

“Given the high costs of customer acquisition, retention efforts are more critical as recurring customers tend to spend more and are less costly to acquire,” says Green. “Growing a recurring customer base is going to be a driving force for success in the future.”

Ancillary Spend Analysis looks at the additional dollars spent on property beyond room revenue and shows how different types of guests tend to spend different amounts in food and beverage or other revenue centers.

“As we have seen with airlines, hotels have to consider all revenue opportunities, even in select-service settings,” says Green, adding that the report found loyalty guests who book direct spend more than guests coming from third party sources.

“A hotel is in the business of building a base of customers, not cycling through new customers,” says Green. “Decisions made every day have to take this into account.”

As the costs of customer acquisition continue to rise, it’s important to understand the different levels of profit contribution driven by different guests coming through the various booking channels.

“The most important theme of Demystifying the Digital Marketplace is that hotels need to determine their optimal business mix and use that to manage spending on booking plus sales and marketing funds, along with the time spent by their teams to focus on the highest and best use of their time,” Green said.


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Disruption, loyalty play major roles in distribution

By Jeff Higley

WASHINGTON—The ever-changing hotel distribution landscape continues to regularly alter the way revenue specialists think—and that’s not going to change any time soon, according to panelists on the “Reordering the hospitality universe” session at last week’s Revenue Strategy Summit.

Marriott International’s Alexander Pyhan (left) enjoys the distribution conversation during the Revenue Strategy Summit. Also pictured is Ash Kapur of Starwood Capital Group. (Photo: Jeff Higley)

Marriott International’s Alexander Pyhan (left) enjoys the distribution conversation during the Revenue Strategy Summit. Also pictured is Ash Kapur of Starwood Capital Group. (Photo: Jeff Higley)

“The core issues of distribution, acquisition costs, where we put things on the shelf … all that stuff stays the same,” said moderator Andrew Rubinacci, president of AMR Hospitality Consulting and former SVP of distribution and revenue-management strategy for InterContinental Hotels Group. “It’s the players that change.”

Ash Kapur, SVP and chief revenue officer of hospitality for Starwood Capital Group, welcomes the so-called “disruptors” that continue to emerge in the hotel space. It’s a positive because they create more distribution options for hotels, he said.

“I can now pick and choose who I want to work with from an online distribution standpoint,” Kapur said.

The emerging platforms often show hotel companies consumer patterns that eventually force them to make big decisions, he said.

“We are living in a generation that we love marketplaces,” Kapur said. “Hotels have to decide very quickly: Either they become a collection of brands that mean something or they become massive marketplaces.”

Rubinacci said the situation that’s developed in the hotel industry can be described as stay brands vs. booking brands—and booking brands such as Expedia and have in many cases gained the upper hand against traditional brick-and-mortar brands.

“You’ve got to start competing on the booking brand … there’s so much value to be gained from it,” Rubinacci said.

Brian Berry (left) of Cvent, said true disruptors in the lodging space introduced new business mod

Brian Berry (left) of Cvent, said true disruptors in the lodging space introduced new business mod

“At the end of the day, a disruptor is really an innovator,” said Alexander Pyhan, VP of distribution-OTA, meta and wholesale for Marriott International. “When you use the example of Uber, they have addressed a consumer need before the consumer even knew they had it. That’s why Uber is very successful.”

Brian Berry (left) of Cvent, said true disruptors in the lodging space introduced new business models that require technology to exist. Also pictured is Alexander Pyhan of Marriott International. (Photo: Jeff Higley)

Brian Berry, SVP of sales and data analytics for Cvent who spent 26 years working for hotel companies, agreed.

“The true disruptors in the space—the Ubers and Airbnbs—are truly disruptive because they introduced new business models that require the technology to exist,” Berry said.

Disruption in the industry will take many forms, the speakers said. There will be more consolidation in the hotel industry with big companies joining forces to compete with a marketplace mentality, according to Kapur.

“The winners in this space will be ones who can be attached to a marketplace and also give the consumer something more than a loyalty program ... a reason to stay with them,” he said.

Read the full article on HNN

RSS 2018: Revenue Strategy Begins With Strong Leadership

Industry Leaders and Disruptors Gather to Learn Latest in Innovation and Technology

"New Players, New Models" panel session during RSS 2018.

"New Players, New Models" panel session during RSS 2018.

Washington – The sixth annual Revenue Strategy Summit brought together technology innovators and hospitality industry leaders, including brand executives and asset managers, to examine the challenges hotels face in maintaining rate growth and managing a distribution landscape that gets more complicated by the day.

The one-day conference, held at the Knight Conference Center at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., combined hotelier-led panel discussions with keynote presentations on voice-activated digital assistants like Amazon's Alexa, blockchain's potential to improve hotel loyalty, and Wall Street investors' sentiment toward the travel industry.

In both networking opportunities and educational sessions, startup disruptors like KoddiKoridor and Skylark shared the stage with leaders from hotel companies like Marriott International, Starwood Capital Group and Red Roof Inn.

"It's gratifying to see RSS continue to grow in its sixth year," said Patrick Bosworth, Co-Founder and CEO of Duetto, which co-hosts RSS with Kalibri Labs LLC and Silver Hospitality Group. "The hoteliers who joined us for RSS recognized that they're competing with online travel agencies and newer digital disruptors to create more value for travelers. The companies that can achieve this earlier in an evolving customer journey will see continued success."

Cindy Estis Green, Co-Founder and CEO of Kalibri Labs, added: "Revenue Strategy is not just the way of the future for hotels — it's needed in the present, as the digital marketplace that has come to dominate hotel bookings only gets more complex. There are few events like RSS focused on the needs of revenue strategists, who must keep abreast of emerging technologies while remaining proficient in the blocking and tackling needed to target and deliver profit contribution and improve asset values."

A prevailing theme several hoteliers brought up during their presentations was the need for what one panelist called "revenue leadership," added Stacy Silver, President of Silver Hospitality Group.

"The important point our colleagues heard over and over this year is an effective revenue strategy has to start with investments in our people," Silver said. "To that end, we will always strive to make RSS the conference where current and future leaders can learn from each other and guide our industry through whatever challenges or opportunities come next."

Read the full article on Hospitality Net

2018 Revenue Strategy Summit Offers a Day of Deep Dives Into Hospitality Finance


On July 10, approximately 300 revenue managers, owners, operators, and other hotel professionals met at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. for the sixth annual Revenue Strategy Summit. Co-hosted by Duetto, Kalibri Labs, and Silver Hospitality Group, the one-day conference offered attendees a deep dive into revenue management and strategies, pulling in experts from all areas of the industry to discuss everything from new technologies disrupting the hospitality revenue space to the overall financial health of the lodging industry.

Patrick Bosworth, CEO and co-founder of Duetto, said that the conference was created to put a spotlight on revenue strategy and educate the hospitality market as to why it’s so important. He explained that demand is a complicated animal, with many factors influencing its ebbs and flows. “You’re not just receiving this demand. You’re not managing demand that’s coming to you and then designing marketing programs in a vacuum and then having your sales people out there trying to bring in group business or leisure-contracted business or corporate-contracted business. There needs to be an underlying strategy that underpins all of these different functions to be able to drive the most profitable business for hotels,” he described.

The event’s seven panels were augmented with plenty of opportunities for attendees to network with the speakers and one another, allowing them to make new connections that could improve their business and clarify details that may have piqued their interest, such as…

A Wider Distribution Landscape

One of the hot topics at this year’s Summit was the new distribution landscape, which includes many more avenues for potential guests to book than ever before. “The occupancy levels that we currently run as an industry are unprecedented,” noted Brian Berry, senior vice president of sales and data analytics for Cvent, a company that provides software for event management, web surveys, and email marketing, during a panel called “Reordering the Hospitality Universe.” “Never in any cycle have we ever achieved the kind of occupancy levels we’re achieving today. Some of it is the revenue management systems and the revenue management capabilities—we have to better manage our group patterns and our blocks—but a lot of it is the distribution landscape. We can simply provide our inventory to a broader set of customers then we’ve ever been able to reach, and that allows hotels to run 80 percent plus on an annual basis. It’s incredible, and it would have been unheard of 10 years ago,” he added.

“Data Is the New Oil”

Data was another common thread at the Revenue Strategy Summit. Many speakers came back to the phrase, “Data is the new oil.” It’s the most valuable resource that hoteliers have at their disposal to create the type of guest experience that drives occupancy and profits, and it’s the key to unlocking a property’s revenue potential. However, hoteliers need to invest in technology to glean useful information from data and make it actionable.

Jos Schaap, CEO of and co-founder of StayNTouch, a company that creates mobile hotel PMS systems, said, “Data speeds up personalization. In order to achieve good personalization, it’s important that there is a lot of data and that there is speed with which that data can be accessed. So you need to have fast computers, and more accessible devices. Computers need to compute lots of data to [help determine] what a guest wants.”

Slower Growth for OTAs

Several panelists also noted that OTAs may be approaching the end of a booming growth period, as they’ve reached a certain level of market penetration. “We’ve seen that the glory days have come and gone for the OTA space,” said Lloyd Walmsley, a research analyst for Deutsche Bank. Walmsley added that there’s still a shift from other channels to OTAs, but most of that can be attributed to the huge amounts of money that OTAs spend on marketing. From his vantage point, though, investors are starting to back off from OTAs because they’ve reached a point of maturation. “It’s a tough space to get data on, in terms of the overall penetration, but when you really strip out group and corporate, the leisure penetration, at least in the United States and Western Europe, is hitting 60 plus percent,” he added.

Incorporating Revenue Management Into A Hotel’s Processes

As the revenue management discipline becomes more prevalent in the hotel industry, another area that concerned many of the panelists was how to best incorporate it into a hotel’s existing procedures and processes. Bonnie Amato, chief revenue officer of Fulcrum Hospitality, strongly recommended training revenue management teams to lead during a panel titled “Revenue Strategy In the Digital Age: It Really Works.” “Make sure you’re training leadership skills in your revenue [team]. In my exposure with the people I’ve worked with, I’ve had people who can think the right way, but they haven’t been able to communicate and lead through the group through the numbers,” she said, adding that giving people who understand revenue management the skills to communicate their knowledge has been extremely effective, in her experience. “I was underestimating their skillset. It was phenomenal to see.”

In the same panel, Andrew Jordan, chief marketing officer of Interstate Hotels & Resorts, noted that revenue management shouldn’t only be left to revenue managers. “Invest in the right people, but break down the silos. At the end of the day, I don’t think it’s a department. I think the GMs are the ones who have to get on board and take some ownership of [revenue strategy],” he said.

Disruption is the Future

As a relatively new discipline in hospitality that relies heavily on technology, revenue management is prime for disruption, a fact that was brought up over and over again throughout the Summit. New technologies, like voice technology, artificial intelligence, and machine learning as well as blockchain, were explored in depth in different panels, but the positive feelings surrounding disruption were perhaps best summarized by Alexander Pyhan, vice president of distribution, OTA, meta, and wholesale at Marriott International. “At the end of the day, a disruptor is really an innovator,” he said.

Read the full article on Lodging Magazine

Revenue Strategy Summit explores the opportunities behind disruption

Patrick Bosworth, co-founder and CEO of revenue management software developer Duetto, addresses the Revenue Strategy Summit in Washington, D.C.

Patrick Bosworth, co-founder and CEO of revenue management software developer Duetto, addresses the Revenue Strategy Summit in Washington, D.C.

Everyone wants to be a disruptor, and with technology giants Amazon, Google and Alibaba moving into the hotel business there is no better time to learn from the industry’s biggest risk takers. That’s why Patrick Bosworth, co-founder and CEO of revenue management software developer Duetto, said the Revenue Strategy Summit was founded in the first place.

The event, now in its sixth year, took place on July 10 in Washington, D.C., with the goal of educating hoteliers on revenue-management strategy and how to remain successful in a world dominated by rapid disruption. Even though hotel companies have been outmaneuvered in recent years by nimble digital entities such as online travel agencies and home-sharing websites, Bosworth said there is still much reason for positivity.

“It’s my belief that hoteliers have been so far behind in their ability to create value in many channels that they have focused on the channels they have been able to control, where they have not seen erosion,” Bosworth said. “As new big entrants come in, they will compete for the same customers that Expedia and do. It’s no longer a duopoly, and hotels have been able to leverage data to compete for those customers, as well.”

During a panel discussion, Alexander Pyhan, VP of distribution, OTA, meta and wholesale at Marriott International, said that with so many options for bookings open to consumers there must be a conscious reason behind every purchase, as well as a reason behind a consumer’s choice in brand. This reason can be something as simple as price or as complicated as a long-term relationship with a brand, but in many cases Pyhan said the power of loyalty and loyalty programs remains underappreciated.

“We need to create an ecosystem where the consumer returns,” Pyhan said. “The consumer wants a high-quality product, but they also want a seamless guest experience. That’s how brands need to evolve, not only from a hotel perspective but from a transactional perspective.”

Of course, such a simple premise comes with hundreds of operational and logistical hurdles, one of which is data. Pyhan referred to data as the “new oil,” and hotel companies must work harder than efficient data collectors like Google and Amazon to understand their customers. While it may not be possible to control whether or not a guest ultimately chooses to share his or her data with your company, it may be more pertinent to get a handle on your hotel’s online presence and how guests encounter your business on the internet.

“It’s hard for any brand owner or hotelier to understand where their inventory is being displayed online,” Pyhan said. “It’s frightening to invest billions in brand development, and you don’t know where it’s being displayed!”

Read the full article on Hotel Management

HB ON THE SCENE: Finding the Right Revenue Leader


WASHINGTON—Having a good revenue strategy is critical in hospitality today, but equally important is having the right person who can lead that strategy. At the Revenue Strategy Summit, held here at The Knight Conference Center in the Newseum, hospitality leaders discussed the changing face of revenue leadership.

Panelists discussed revenue leaders.

Panelists discussed revenue leaders.

In a session titled “Revenue Strategy in the Digital Age: It Really Works,” moderator Kathleen Cullen, SVP, revenue & distribution, Two Roads Hospitality, noted that revenue strategy has been evolving. “The discipline is moving toward involving planning and resource allocation to their strategic needs. Hotel revenue management has been a very tactical and very reactive discipline in the past, and we work very closely with sales and marketing, and sales and marketing is also not focused on planning and resource allocation. They tend to focus very tactically on the transactional: What can we do to get more eyeballs?” she said. “That means there is not a lot of planning and resource allocation happening within the revenue generation functions at hotels.”

Additionally, she noted, revenue management, sales, marketing and digital are often treated as separate. “We look at them in silos and we allocate resources in silos versus looking at a holistic approach,” she said. “It’s difficult to remove the walls that exist. Much of it is in the mindset. So much of the landscape has changed over the years, but hoteliers have not changed our approach and how we think about things.”

Read the full article in Hotel Business